After such a long time away from home, it felt only right that I should make my presence known by doing what I do best – baking. I wanted something a little unconventional, something a little exotic, to represent the mammoth trip I had just undertaken.
Unfortunately I ended up making something that was “straight outta Starbucks”.
Having flicked through my numerous cookbooks, I went for the Primrose Bakery’s stem ginger cupcakes, with a spiced cream cheese frosting. Granted, the mascarpone was probably slightly too watery, and I should have used the own brand sandwich spread instead. But I had one awful experience with Philadelphia once, so I am very distrusting of cream cheese with any amount of salt in. I don’t care if it’s only 0.2%, I still know it’s there, and it’ll haunt me.
- 200g room temperature unsalted butter
- 175g soft, dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons black treacle
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
- 4-5 tsp ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 300g sifted self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan). Line two cupcake trays with 18 cases.
Melt the butter, sugar and treacle in a saucepan over a very low heat, stirring continuously. Cool for a little while, then add the milk.
Whisk the eggs and the ginger together, and mix in the buttery, treacly stuff. Now it’s time to add your sifted flour, and keep stirring.
Spoon it into the cupcake cases and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking constantly with a skewer to see if they’re cooked through.
Leave to cool completely before icing – should take about an hour.
Spiced Cream Cheese icing
- 175g cream cheese (mascarpone/Philadelphia if you’re brave)
- 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 450g icing sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together until icing is smooth, pale, and pretty sturdy.
Spread over the stone cold cupcakes however you like. There may be some left over, so feel free to spread generously. If you lay it on thick and then drag a fork in a spiral motion over the top, it’ll look something akin to faux piping.
Now, for decoration. If you want something simple, the cookbook suggests just a sprinkle of demerara sugar. You can do that, but if you want to do what I did and go overboard on gold and sparkles, you’ll need three things: gold shimmer spray, yellow and white sugar stars, and a dash of gold edible glitter.
Happy baking, folks! I know it’s the wrong time of year for sugar, spice, and all things nice, but since the weather is so cold and the political climate so gloomy in the UK, why not treat yo self.